Heather Joseph reports that, in a speech to the American Association for Cancer Research, Vice President Joe Biden calls for more Open Access to research results in order to speed up the development of new cancer treatments and cures:
Noting that “we should measure progress by improving patient outcomes, not just publications,” the Vice President addressed the need for not only making open access the norm in cancer research, but also rewarding researchers for making their papers openly available.
He continued: “What you propose and how it affects patients, it seems to me, should be the basis of whether you continue to get the grant. And scores of your colleagues — scores — said make publications more readily available.”
“Right now, you work for years to come up with a significant breakthrough, and if you do, you get to publish a paper in one of the top journals,” the Vice President said. “For anyone to get access to that publication, they have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to subscribe to a single journal. And here’s the kicker—the journal owns the data for a year. Your outfit does this.“
“And by the way, the taxpayers fund $5 billion a year in cancer research every year, but once it’s published, nearly all of that taxpayer-funded research sits behind walls. Tell me how this is moving the process along more rapidly.”
Figshare has released this helpful chart of Federal agency responses to the OSTP request for policies on sharing of funded research outputs.
Valen, Dan; Blanchat, Kelly (2015): Overview of OSTP Responses. figshare.http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1367165 Retrieved 15:48, May 05, 2015 (GMT)
This chart is based on a crowd-sourced open Google Spreadsheet that consolidates guidelines from federal agencies as a result of the Whitehouse’s Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) 2013 statement. The chart is an overview of each agency’s compliance with policies that are intended to “[open] goverment data resources” by working towards public access for all research outputs supported by federal funding (Process Toward Opening Data Government Resources. The White House, 16 Aug. 2013. Web.).
A recent post in Civil Service World, a UK publication, analyzes the importance of open data to the development of the forthcoming United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
It’s already becoming clear that open data holds particular resonance for international development. By 2013, 12 of the 41 available national platforms for accessing open data had been created by developing countries. And with the African Development Bank becoming the first pan-African entity to provide regional information through a central platform, it is increasingly likely that open data will form a central part of the plans for the SDG framework.
The timing is certainly significant. Driven by a push for greater aid effectiveness and accountability from development programmes, there has been an increasing need to measure results using reliable, transparent data as evidence. But its potential is not just limited to tracking aid effectiveness.
Open data can also be used to inform evidence-based policy-making and the design of government services by providing a source of information to identify wasteful spending, better target resources and design more responsive services. By opening up data sets typically on a central portal, government departments can share information easily and prevent silos from emerging. Evidence suggests that where governments have introduced open data portals, a large proportion of the views or downloads are from civil servants in other departments.